Join our Facebook Community

WordPress vs Movable Type

Posted By duncan 21st of June 2005 Blogging Tools and Services 0 Comments

Its a matter of history that I was a member of the Movable Type diaspora when the house that Mena built decided for better or worse to alienate a large number of their loyal user base with MT 3. Its been 12 months, and a lot of the old MT gang are writing WordPress plugins and helping out whilst Six Apart continues to chase the corporate dollar whilst protesting that it’s really a good corporate citizen at heart (eg: we support Open Source because we bought Live Journal).

But enough of my purposeful provocation in a blatant attempt to drive up poor Darren’s stats here whilst he is in Europe. Seriously, 12 months later, what’s better: WP or MT? Both have moved forward in terms of development. I’ll start the ball rolling, I prefer WP, and there is one gigantically large reason why: ITS FREE and no matter what happens the source code will be free for me to tweak and customise for ever more…and naturally it works a treat as well, quicker in my experience than Movable Bloat, sorry Type, and I reckon Matt’s a much nicer person than Mena as well :-)

You might use another piece of blogware that you’d prefer, and there is some great development happening there (Nucleus, Serendipity to name but a few) so if its something else for you let us know. Please though, share your thoughts on blogware (self installed scripts if you like) not hosted blogs.

Fire away!!!

  1. How about this for a reason not to use MT: World’s worst installation process.

  2. Indeed, I’m not a stupid person but I couldnt actually install MT it seemed far too complicated. I installed WordPress in about 5minutes, that includes downloading the whole package.

  3. Andy Beeching says: 06/21/2005 at 8:18 pm

    It’s all about Textpattern. Simple, powerful, and well over 200 plugins now…In my opinion a lot easier to write templates for as well.

  4. My votes for WordPress too :)

  5. got to say I’ve always found WP super easy to install too

  6. It’s WP all the way. I wasn’t impressed with MT’s licensing nor the requirement to “rebuild pages.” WP is lightweight, yet powerful. It’s easy to install and since 1.5 a dream blog app with drop-in plugins and themes/templates. WP also has a very active community (not sure if MT does — don’t really care). :-)

  7. For me, it’s a matter of what you need it for. Different blogging systems offer various features that can be used and tweaked accordingly. I use several blogging systems because of my work at (I need to be in the loop with as many blogging software as possible to know what I’m talking about.).

    At the moment, I’m using for my podcast, Expression Engine for my personal blog, Movable Type for my private blog, WordPress for a writing blog, pMachine Pro for a creativity blog and my video blog, and Nucleus for (blogging network). And, I’ve got several blogging accounts on various services such as Xanga, ModBlog, LiveJournal, Multiply, MSN, Yahoo 360, etc. And, I’ve used and worked with Drupal, Mambo, etc.

    Long story short: my top picks for free blogging software can be found here –
    I have yet to edit and reformat this page to reflect some of my latest finds.

  8. Duncan: I think I’m a glutton for punishment. ;-)

    Seriously, I don’t really update all my blog accounts religiously apart from my “usual blogs” (8-10 blogs). But, it helps to have them so I know what I’m talking about when I write about various blogging systems. Problem is: There are just so many – it’s difficult to keep up! :-D

  9. Oops. I didn’t realise Duncan just sent his reply via email (it arrived when I just finished posting) – so now I look like I’m talking to myself. Yikes.

  10. I started with blogger and within a week had moved to MT because I wanted more control, but within a month I was getting 100s of spam comments and could not keep up with it. WordPress is fantastic, I have built a few blogs in it and have found it to be by far the simplest to setup with so many themes available. TextPattern is really nice to use but does not have as large a community to fall back on for questions.
    I ended up with Drupal which had everything I needed. As an artist I wanted a blog which would let me post my images and sell them if I needed and Drupal has all these features and much more. Spam filtering, eccommerce, contact forms and blogging is all taken care of with modules and the forum + support is really good.

  11. That’s alright Shai, I know what you are talking about, the email stated:
    “I’m surprised you can keep up with all those blog accounts”

  12. Conann
    I like Drupal as well from the perspective of a CMS because it offers a lot more, but for my liking its not really blogware, although I do read a number of very good blogs written on it.

  13. I’ll be moving to WP for a couple of reasons I found that MT doesn’t suffice me anymore.
    • More plugins
    • Comment handling
    • Less installation hassle
    • FREE when you have more than 1 author!

    Corporate greed just killed the ol MT that everyone used to love so much. I think the only ones benefiting most from it are those who know MT inside out. Cheers.

  14. True drupal is more CMS then blogware, there are a few stripped down installations but it will never have the nice one minute install that wordpress has to offer. was up and running within 40 minutes using wordpress which is amazing to me.

  15. I use MT and the reason why I stay is because I am afraid. I am afraid of trying to replicate the site I know and love to something new. I know that there are stickiness tools without compare, but I don’t care for now. I know that WordPress is a killer app, but I could not intuitively program the templates to my liking easily. Groan. Oh well, I think I will develop URBAN.NET as a WordPress site. See what happens.

  16. I use WordPress for my personal finance blog and I like it a lot. I’ve used MT a bit, and it pales in comparison in terms of user-friendliness and usability.

  17. I recently moved from MT to WP and after very short time of using WP I decided to never use MT again.
    The main reason I moved is the template sistem in WP and more plugins I can chose for my sites.

  18. I’ve used WP, MT, Blogger, LiveJournal and at least a couple other blogging programs. WP has been the easiest to set up and to tweak and keep running. The site I’m banking on being a success the most, the one my name is linked to, is running on WP and I couldn’t be happier. There’s no doubt posting is faster, (no rebuilds) and the plugins are terrific and just as easy to install. There are MT plugins that sound great, but for the life of me, I can’t get them to work.

  19. […]

    WordPress, Competition, and Diasporae

    Duncan guest-posts at ProBlogger about WordPress vs Movable Type, proclaiming h […]

  20. I have used MT, Blogger and WP. I have a very clunky install of Blogger on my gallery’s web site, and I’d like to migrate it to WP, but as Chris Abraham says above, I’m scared! When I was writing Unbeige for mediabistro, it was on MT and I found it to be achingly slooooow, unstable and not so flexible. Blogger is ok, but again, my install is clunky and unsophisticated.
    I’ve been really pleased with WP so far. It was super easy to install. I’m not terribly technical by nature, but because I’ve worked in technology-related fields for a long time, I’m probably a bit more savvy than most. Still: I had it up and running in no time, and it’s zippy and has a lot of useful features integrated into it. One thing I’m not crazy about is the upload process for images – I use lots of photos in general. When I’m doing a very photo-heavy post, I have two browser windows open and have to toggle back and forth. That’s annoying. Another issue that I’ve been having is that my Syndication feeds seem to update sporadically at best, which is frustrating. But: it’s never once crashed on me once, I really like the dashboard interface and I’ve found the documentation to be pretty throrough (though somewhat hard to navigate.)
    I need to migrate all my sites to another host, since Bob Parsons (the owner of is the devil and I simply can’t justify giving him another cent of my money. I’m scared about doing that too! Hopefully I can do the blogger —> WP migration when I make that move.

  21. I still use MT for the same reason Chris does. I have far too much invested in sites in terms of time and search engine positioning to switch.

    My battles with MT haven’t been pretty. One of their upgrades broke my sites. lol

    What I don’t like about both is the lack of ready to go styles and templates to choose from. Way too limited.

    So what keeps me with MT? Intertia.

  22. I’m considering switching as well. I want to know how it would effect my pages in the search engines? I mean, it would effectively change every page name right? Can you put some type of forward on your old MT pages or something? How is this handled?

  23. I’m a long-time MT user who got fed up with the 3.0 release and associated fees. I tested a bunch of open source blogging/CMS apps as I looked for an alternative, including WordPress, Drupal, Mambo, PHPNuke, PostNuke and Xaraya.

    PHPNUke and PostNuke are simply not secure enough, and get hacked all the time. I think both Mambo and Drupal have great potential as CMSes, but have a fairly steep learning curve (especially Drupal). I just didn’t need that much power and that many features.

    So I started working with WordPress. I’m impressed with the program, but it didn’t take me long to realize that relearning and duplicating my customizations and plugins would take a lot fo time. Which got me thinking: how much time am I spending trying to avoid paying for software? I pay for lots of software programs that are less useful than Movable Type.

    Ttime is money for a self-employed blogger. So now I’m one of those wacky people who are paying Six Apart for an MT license. I’m sure WordPress is great (although that link-spamming episode kinda undermines its as the more ethical counterpart to Six Apart). And yes, the comment and trackback spam is an ongoing pain. But free isn’t everything.

  24. I have been using WordPress since 0.72 and will continue to do so. I love how open and easy it is to change, and it only gets better.

    I use it on a multitude of sites and have converted many of my friends over.

    Great software… Whats Moveable Type? ; )

  25. I’m another long-time MT user who now uses WP…I was sceptical of WP at first but am now very happy with it…no need to rebuild pages is a big plus…easier to install and, of course, the cost was the first factor in making the choice…I suspect that MT will continue to have a solid customer base but am very glad that WP is an alternative.

  26. Ok this is all good and well, but here is a major stumbling block with wordpress: its permalink urls. yeah yeah i know you are all going to say “but i can make custom permalink urls in wp” but not everyone can. I couldn’t and I’ve been doing this stuff for years. I was able to do it in MT in seconds. In WP this function is incompatible with Apache 1.3, you need apache 2.0. BUT apache 2.0 is incompatible with cpanel and a number of other control panel software for managing your server (crucial to ALOT of people, or at least me). So I’ll be sticking with my MT install for now until WP can fix that crucial issue (or someone can give me a REAL workaround for this that works). Permalinks are very important for search engines (and creating the subsites I need).

  27. Just FYI … For those of you feeling “stuck” with MT … MT does have an export feature so you can backup your archives and migrate to another platform. There are people out there that will, for a small fee, do this for you if the thought gives you shutters.

    Two reasons why I no longer use Movable Type — 1) Spam 2) Licensing.

    For the same price, you can get Expression Engine which is hands down the far superior, more flexible program. I’ve not yet used TextPattern but I’m itching to.

    I think it’s been mentioned that one of the reasons that WordPress is so special is the fantabulous community of developers and designers out there writing plugin-ins and templates, etc. When choosing the most appropriate software for clients, I not only look at the features — I evaluate the price, how active the community is, ease of use, and available spam solutions.

    Drupal is a nifty tool, but it doesn’t have great solutions for spam. Unless I’ve missed something? Ok, perhaps I’m digressing too much … that might be another discussion altogether. (Hint: A good future topic might be “best spam solutions”) lol

  28. Actually, if you have MT blacklist I find the spam problem 98% solved. If I switch to WP, it’ll be for the plugins and not having to worry about number of authors, etc…

    I’m concerned now about the permalink urls. That would be a big stumbling block for me at


  29. My site is running on WP too and I am really liking it. Even when the site crashed it took me about 20 minutes to reinstall and up and running. I have never used MT, but with little programming knowledge I was able to tweak my site to a standard design on WP platform. By the way donate WP!!! Loving it!!!

  30. I’ve stuck with Movable Type and I enjoy it. Blacklist solves most of the spam problems. The only real issues I see are having to pay extra for more authors and having to pay something in general. But honestly, I don’t mind paying for software. If my one-time payment of $200 gives me quality software that does what I need it to, no problem. These people have to eat, too.

    I also don’t see lots of plug-ins as a big bonus. I don’t want to go chase around every moonlighting techie’s fancy new plug-in and figure out which one I really need. I’d rather have the necessary features built-in and not have to worry about extras (granted Blacklist is an extra, but what can you do?). I’m just not as wild about open-source as everybody else seems to be. The openess and freedom comes across to me as disorganized and unstable (I’m not suggesting the software is unstable, just the whole process of lots of people with nothing invested in the software working on it).

    But bottomline, it’s a hell of a lot better than using Notepad. When I started blogging in 1998 that’s what I did. (shudder)

  31. Permalinks – No problem. It works just fine on my Cpanel Apache host. :P
    I just made a file in windows called htaccess.txt which is empty. I upload it, chmod it, and then rename the file to .htaccess and it all works fine. I don’t understand where people are having problems with this. So don’t fret, and any problem you may have with Permalinks the support group would help or fix in a hurry. So whomever has long lasting problems with permalinks, is just not trying to fix them.

    Plugins – They are a wonderful bonus. It allows you to extend WordPress in so many ways and for so many uses. You can push WP into a full CMS, or down to a newsreader for various feeds you like. Tell me that isn’t cool? : )

  32. I am also using WordPress as a CMS substitute for my site. The ‘pages’ function is an excellent CMS for small websites!
    Unfortunately WordPress is a bit slow, there are a lot of queries executed for simple actions but I hope that they solve this soon because there is quite a lot of discussion about this on the WordPress forum.
    This is something you see a lot with open source projects, the users are quite demanding when it comes to new features and the programmers prefer introducing new stuff over optimizing existing code.

    I must admit that I haven’t migrated my old Blogger weblogs, mainly because of the address and the fact that they are just very simple blogs that do not need any fancy stuff. This is the good thing about Blogger, it is nice and simple (no need to worry about upgrades, hosting, plugins etc.).

  33. I am a relatively new blogger and I looked at WP first but did not like it’s backend, then I looked at MT and decided to go with it. Yes the installation and set up was a royal pain but I thought it was easier to use (go figure) and I was having fun playing with css and php, both of which I knew nothing about (still don’t).

    Recently I installed WP on another site and I have found that either WP has made some improvements or I have become more comfortable with web based programs. So much so that I may have to switch.

  34. For a faster front end there are changes you can make. There is as well as custom plugins people have made, but really I find WordPress to be much faster loading than some MT blogs I read.

    Also, you don’t really need to worry about Upgrades, Hosting and Plugins for WordPress either, as there are some free WordPress hosts that will do it all.

  35. Allen – There are multiple skins for backends that can make your WP experience better.

    The one I use is

    Which looks real nice in my opinion.

  36. […] s Movable Type
    WordPress David June 21st, 2005

    No Comments Yet

    On someone, Duncan from Blog Herald, decided it would be a g […]

  37. I agree with Andy: Textpattern is fantastic. I’ve used Radio, MT and WP, Textpattern beats the first two hands down, and wins by nose with WP.

  38. WP 1.5 gets my vote as the best blogging and all around CMS platform.

    The MT perl scripts always managed to kill my server, but no such issues with WP. My only complaint with WP is that there’s no multiple blog support like MT…but WP is a snap to install and runs smoother than MT, and it’s FREE, so I can’t really complain too much. Plus the nonsense of “rebuilding” is a much welcomed thing of the past.

  39. Brian – There is WordPress mU that is for multiblog and there is also a plugin which hacks wordpress to have muliple blogs… :)

  40. I really like WordPress, especially version 1.5. The main reason is that it’s very extensible and hackable. I rely on a few plug-ins per site, including several I have written myself.

    I used to write my own blog software but WordPress made it easy for me to use something packaged while still writing a bit of PHP here and there to make my sites work the way I prefer.

  41. P. S. I’m sure Darren will be surprised to see all of his comments filling up his email box. You should do a “mac vs. PC” post next. :)

  42. […] ging and wanted to find out what’s the better tool to use? There’s an entry in that compares (actually they didn’t) MovableType (M […]

  43. Law blogs : Movable Type or WordPress?

    There’s a decent discussion going on over at ProBlogger about what’s better for blog software, Movable Type (MT) or WordPress. As you’ll see from the discussion, there’s a lot of bent up anger against Six Apart produced Movable Type. This…

  44. […] e/#comments” title=”Leave a comment”>No Comments

    Discussion: WordPress vs. Movabletype It’s an ongoing issue. As two of the […]

  45. Just on those people afraid of changing I can only talk from experience and thats been positive: after changing the Search Engines reindexed the site within 2 weeks, it may be advanced for some but I set up redirects from the old MT pages to WP and didn’t have too many problems, and I found out how to do it from the WP support forums (Im no genius in that regard, but the instructions are fairly easy). I hesitated for months before I changed mainly because I’d customised my templates heavily and was secure in what I had but looking back I wish I’d done the move earlier: you’ll find particularly now with WP1.5 an easier to use system with a great template system thats easier to customise, 1st rate spam protection and options (I always found MT Blacklist a pain) and a system that’s super quick with NO reloads, and I’ve got to say for me WP made blogging enjoyable again:
    Remember this: you shouldn’t have to battle with your blogware every time you use it: I use to with MT and it was a constant drain, I never do with WP. To be a good blogger you should primarily be focused on writing, not the system you using.

  46. That’s interesting to hear all of the complaints about MT. I’ve used MT since the early 2.x versions and still use it to this day. I guess I don’t really want to move to another system (although from reading the comments, Drupal sounds interesting from and ecommerce standpoint). because I’m pretty heavily invested in MT. I have integrated gallery templates and have tons of template modules that keep it easy to manage. I also use MT as a deployment system for redesigning my site by having it always build “in-development” version of my templates and CSS files along side the real version so I can always tweak then release and do a rebuild. As you can see I have everything the way I like it (I guess I don’t know how green the grass is on the other side of the fence because I’ve yet to peer over).

    While I’ll probably experiment with Drupal, WP, and Textpattern if I ever have time, I don’t see a need to move since MT serves my needs and just keeps humming (albeit slowly when I need to rebuild the entire site) along.

  47. My vote also goes to WordPress, but not just WordPress 1.5, to WordPress 1.6! They have been working so hard on releasing a new version of WordPress. WordPress has so many better features than MT has. The ease to install, the ease to add plugins, the ease to change the design, everything revolving around WordPress is awesome. I have seen many sites use WordPress simply as a CMS tool instead of specifically a blog because it’s core nature.

    WordPress has many good features about it and the community for it continues to grow as well. Many sponsored contests such as the Plugin Contest and the Design Contest, the community continues to grow as well as the support for WordPress itself. It’s amazing to see what it has turned into.

  48. Brian Breslin, you’re wrong. I’m on Apache 1.3.33 and I use search engine friendly permalinks with WP with no problem. I did have a bit of a challenge setting it up, but the WP community is absolutely tops in my book, and had me up and running with it within a day.

    I also found WP Themes easy to customize, the codex support thorough, and the interface intuitive. Plugins are readily available and most work wonderfully.

    As far as other ways to blog, I’ve used blogger in the past and find that WP has cut my post time considerably compared to blogger. Oh, and blogger support is, for the most part, nonexistent (Custom template? We don’t offer support for that!) while WP has been great. MT I haven’t tried, but why would I need to?

  49. Re: the issues with search friendly URL’s I’d argue that its more of a hosting problem than a WP problem, I can remember an issue with MT a few years back because my host didn’t have Imagemakic installed, if you’re looking at the hosting side though most decent hosts will tell you up front what they support now (and if they don’t know you’ve got to worry) and I’ve been with 3 different hosts for various projects in the last six months with WP and never had a problem, although I must admit I do miss the WP1.2 ability to actually manually edit .htaccess within WP, but thats just me.

  50. Several people seem worried about the WordPress Permalink problems. There is a very simple solution. Boren’s reduced rewrite rules.

    Forget the complex rewrite rules WP generates and put this in your .htaccess file:

    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteBase /
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
    RewriteRule ^(.+)$ /index.php/$1

    There is a plugin to make WP do this here:

    Personally, given how easy it is do to manually, I did not bother with the plugin.

A Practical Podcast… to Help You Build a Better Blog

The ProBlogger Podcast

A Practical Podcast…